More than £1.2bn was wiped off the value of Lambert & Butler cigarette maker Imperial Brands as a ban on flavoured vaping products by US regulators takes its toll (The Daily Mail). The clampdown on vaping in America is set to hit revenues and earnings at Imperial Brands (The Times £). Imperial Brands warned that earnings would fall this year as a crackdown on vaping in the US hit efforts to move away from traditional cigarettes (The Financial Times £).
US lawmakers called for tougher rules for e-cigarette companies at a hearing on Wednesday as they blamed executives for introducing a new generation to nicotine. (The BBC)
Imperial has tried to do it all. Venturing into vaping while keeping an aggressive dividend policy proved unsustainable. That meant scrapping the decade-long target of 10 per cent annual dividend growth last year, irking investors. (The Financial Times £)
Sales of organic food and drink in the UK rose by 4.5% last year to a record £2.45bn, fuelled by strong growth online and in home delivery, and outpacing a sluggish food and drink market overall. (The Guardian)
Domino’s Pizza Group is to take a hit of up to £60m against the value of its “corporate” stores and international operations but has reported a “solid performance” from its core British business (The Times £). Domino’s, the UK-listed arm of the global pizza chain, blamed the poor condition of new shops and a competitive market in London for a £20m impairment charge against its store estate (The Financial Times £).
Shares in Domino’s Pizza have jumped after the group revealed it enjoyed rising sales in the final quarter of last year. (The Daily Mail)
Katie Bickerstaffe has been made chief strategy and transformation director by Marks & Spencer as the troubled retailer seeks to revive its fortunes. (The Times £)
A lack of retail experience at the top of the newly-emerging board at the John Lewis Partnership risks putting the group at a further ‘disadvantage’ in the cut-throat world world of department stores, a leading retail analyst has claimed. (The Daily Mail)
The Treasury should hike corporation tax to fund a £6bn business rates cut for struggling high streets, according to a government-commissioned report prepared by leading industry figures. (Sky News)
The coronavirus outbreak has unsettled global markets, hitting equity and commodity prices as concerns grow about its impact on economic growth. A less obvious casualty has been the humble coffee bean. China is an important participant in the global coffee industry, with imports more than tripling over the past decade. (The Financial Times £)
Billionaire investor Bill Ackman sold his position in Starbucks almost two years after he first announced a $900m stake in the coffee-house chain, banking a 73 per cent return as the company’s business in China was hit by the coronavirus. (The Financial Times £)
JAB Holdings has poached an Anheuser-Busch InBev executive to be chief financial officer at its coffee division as it shakes up the leadership at JDE Peet’s ahead of a €3bn European stock market listing. (The Financial Times £)
Amazon is promoting poor-quality products with an “Amazon’s Choice” badge as cunning sellers manipulate the algorithmic recommendation system behind the label, according to research from the consumer rights group Which?. (The Guardian)